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Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

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Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

March 2, 2017       

Do Not Go Gentle: Mental Decline and Aging

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Do not go gentle into that good night Dylan Thomas
As people age, a primary fear is the loss of mental capacity. Most people eventually come to terms with the physical decline in health and abilities. But mental decline causes greater isolation and feelings of loneliness because mental abilities are our lifeline of connection to others. So, finding ways to reduce mental decline is an important factor in improving well-being as we age.

Although previous research has shown that elderly who engage in social activity show less mental decline, the key may not be the social interaction itself. It was thought that social contact provided emotional support reducing stress that can affect mental abilities. Or, that socially engaged people often participate in mentally challenging activities, such as card games, keeping the mind active.

However, reducing mental decline as we age is more complex than that and is impacted by several factors (Brown et al., 2016):

1) Mental activity. When researchers studied a group of people over time they found that those who were more social tended to engage in more challenging mental activities even when alone. Although it may be that mentally active people are more social, it also seems that being around others who are involved in activities requiring mental effort encourages a person to do similar activities on their own.

2) Physical activity. Not only do people model their mental activities after friends and associates but the research showed that when people were more socially active they also tended to be more physically active. During those times of increased physical activity their memory performance was better. This effect was not due to overall health or the social engagement but seemed to be directly related to the physical activity itself.

3) Social activity. The bottom line is that engaging in mental activity and physical activity appear to be the primary deterrents to mental decline with aging. The social activity is related in that it encourages people to be more mentally and physically active. When a person is around others who are engaged mentally and physically they are more likely to model after them. We tend to imitate others with whom we associate.

Brown, C.L., Robitaille, A., Zelinski, E.M., Dixon, R.A., Hofer, S.M. and Piccinin, A.M. (2016). Cognitive Activity Mediates the Association Between Social Activity and Cognitive Performance: A Longitudinal Study. Psychology and Aging, 31, 831–846. DOI:10.1037/pag0000134


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